Jalen Carter: UGA football standout pleads guilty to charges related to crash that killed teammate and staff member

(CNN) University of Georgia football standout Jalen Carter surrendered to police in Athens, Ga., Wednesday night on charges related to a crash that killed his teammate and a teammate hours after they celebrated the Bulldogs’ national championship victory.

Carter — who has been projected as a top pick in next month’s NFL draft — turned himself in to the Athens-Clarke County Jail on charges of reckless driving and racing, jail records show. He was booked at 11.33pm and released a short time later at 11.49pm

Carter’s teammate Devin Willock and football staff member Chandler LeCroy were killed in the Jan. 15 crash, which occurred hours after the team participated in a parade through campus to celebrate its second straight national title.

LeCroy was driving a Ford SUV near campus with Willock and two other members of the football program also in the vehicle, police have said. The SUV was traveling “approximately 104 miles per hour” before it veered off the road and struck two utility poles and several trees, Athens-Clarke County police said.

Authorities said Carter was driving a separate vehicle and that he and LeCroy appeared to be racing.

“The evidence showed that both vehicles were switching lanes, driving in the center turn lane, driving in the opposite lane, passing other motorists and driving at high speeds, in an apparent attempt to pass each other,” Athens-Clarke County police said.

Carter responded to the allegations in a statement posted on his verified Twitter account Wednesday, writing: “This morning I received a call from the Athens Georgia Police Department informing me that two misdemeanor citations have been issued against me for reckless driving and racing.

“It is my intention to return to Athens to answer the charges against me and to ensure that the full and accurate truth is presented. There is no doubt that when all the facts are known, I will be fully exonerated. of any criminal misconduct,” he wrote.

Carter spoke with police the night after the crash, according to Athens-Clarke County Police Lt. Shaun Barnett.

Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart said the allegations against Carter are “deeply troubling, especially as we continue to grapple with the devastating loss of two beloved members of our community.”

“We will continue to cooperate fully with authorities as we support these families and consider what we can learn from this terrible tragedy,” Smart said in a written statement.

Investigators have also said alcohol appeared to be a factor in the fatal crash.

Toxicology results show LeCroy, who was driving a university vehicle that was not authorized for use at the time of the crash, had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.197 — more than twice the legal limit in Georgia, police said.

Willock was ejected and died at the scene and LeCroy died at a local hospital. The other two occupants of the vehicle were injured, officials said.

Carter, who will skip his senior season, has been considered the potential No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft in April. He was a key part of Georgia’s vaunted defense that allowed the fewest rushing yards per game (77.1) in 2022 and was named to multiple All-America teams.

CNN’s Nick Valencia and David Close contributed to this report.

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